10 military veterans who became Fortune 500 CEOs

In 1980, 59% of CEOs in U.S. public corporations had some form of military background, according to Vista College. In 2009, that percentage had fallen to 8%.

Despite the dramatic drop over the last 40 years, there are still a number of CEOs who have taken the leadership lessons they learned in the military into Fortune 500 boardrooms.

Here are 10 current and former CEOs who have served in the U.S. military.

Alex Gorsky


FILE - Alex Gorsky, chief executive officer of Johnson & Johnson, speaks during an event in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on March 10, 2021. Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Alex Gorsky, chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson, served in the U.S. Army for six years. Before his service, Gorsky attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, according to his Johnson & Johnson bio. Gorsky is set to step down in January of 2022. 

Frederick W. Smith


FILE - Frederick "Fred" Smith, president and chief executive officer of FedEx Corp., speaks during the 2013 IHS CERAWeek conference in Houston, Texas, U.S., on March 8, 2013. Photographer: F. Carter Smith/Bloomberg via Getty Images

According to his corporate bio page, FedEx Chairman and CEO Frederick W. Smith was an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years, from 1966 to 1970.

Ken Hicks

Ken Hicks is the chairman, president, and CEO of sporting goods and apparel company Academy Sports. He previously served as the CEO of Foot Locker from 2009 to 2014. 

Hicks attended West Point for his undergraduate degree and served in the U.S. Army, according to Veterans Advantage.

Scott Wine


FILE - Scott Wine, chairman and chief executive officer of Polaris Industries Inc., speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview in New York, on Nov. 11, 2015. Photographer: Chris Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Scott Wine, CEO of CNH Industrial, a global capital goods company. Wine is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and an MBA from the University of Maryland. He serves on the Boards of US Bancorp and the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation.

Prior to joining CNH in January of 2021 he was CEO at Polaris Industries Inc., and he held roles at defense companies including United Technologies Corporation, Danaher Corp. and Allied Signal Corp., which became Honeywell International, Inc. 

Alan B. Miller

Universal Health Services was founded in 1979 by Alan B. Miller, who is still the chairman and CEO of the hospital management company. Miller also served in the U.S. Army in the 77th Infantry Division, according to his UHS bio page.

Sumner Redstone


FILE - Viacom's Sumner Redstone arrives at the premiere of Paramount Pictures' 'Star Trek Into Darkness' at the Dolby Theatre on May 14, 2013, in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Billionaire Sumner Redstone, who passed away in 2020 at the age of 97, was the former chairman and CEO of National Amusements which eventually took control of  Viacom in1996, and CBS in 2000. The companies now operate as VicaomCBS. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II, cracking Japanese military codes, according to reports. 

Lowell C. McAdam

Key Speakers At The 2018 Makers Conference

FILE - Lowell McAdam, chief executive officer of Verizon Communications Inc., speaks during the 2018 Makers Conference in Hollywood, California, U.S., on Feb. 6, 2018. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Verizon's former CEO Lowell C. McAdam served in the U.S. Navy Civil Engineering Corps for six years, according to his bio page

Robert A. McDonald


FILE - U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald makes remarks before introducing U.S. President Barack Obama on Veterans Day in the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery on November 11, 2016, in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo

After he served as the chairman, president and CEO of Procter & Gamble, Robert A. McDonald became the secretary of Veterans Affairs under President Obama in 2014.

McDonald graduated from West Point and served in the U.S. Army with the 82nd Airborne Division, according to his website.

James A. Skinner

James A. Skinner, executive chairman of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. and former CEO of McDonald's Corporation, served in the U.S. Navy for almost 10 years, including during the Vietnam War, according to Veterans Advantage.

Robert J. Stevens


FILE - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Lockheed Martin Corporation Robert J. Stevens addresses guests during the United Kingdom F-35 Lightning II Delivery Ceremony on July 19, 2012, at Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Tom Penningt

Retired Chairman, President and CEO of Lockheed Martin Robert J. Stevens served in the U.S. Marine Corps for six years, according to his Lockheed Martin bio.

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